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The evening after the arrival of the Butterfields was the evening set apart by Mrs. De Sorosis for her weekly reception; the household in consequence was in a state of excitement. Every one had an air of pleased excitement as though something of importance were momentarily expected to take place. Mrs. Butterfield, who was still at her toilet table arranging a bit of Spanish lace about her neck, was being put to considerable anxiety in her endeavor to hide her rather prominent Adam's apple and at the same time conceal the neck of her dress which was made to wear with a collar and was not meant to be seen. After she had managed to effect her purpose with a considerable outlay of pins, her looking-glass showed her the necessity of another application of the bit of chamois skin kept in her powder-box. Mrs. Butterfield then descended to ask Mrs. De Sorosis if there were any powder on her face, and found that lady in the kitchen with a "new girl," as she expressed it, doing her best to explain in a short time the possibilities open to a connoisseur in the opening and decanting of ice-cream. Mrs. De Sorosis was telling in an excited manner to a bewildered Irish servant the various ways in which it was possible to get the cream out of the mould without getting the salt into it and without destroying the form in which the cream was moulded. Her instructions were received without visible signs of comprehension by the servant, and Mrs. Butterfield having agreed to slip down and attend to it, they went up to the drawing-room. There they found Asphyxia and two of her friends who were to pour out tea for the company and attend to the masculine "small-fry" who might be present. Asphyxia was dressed in a saffron colored cashmere. The skirt was perfectly plain and fell in natural folds to within six inches of the ground; her feet and ankles coming into prominence thereby, were encased in low shoes and yellow stockings which were within a shade or two of the color of her dress. The waist of this costume was of the same color and material as the skirt and was full in front with plaited puffs on the shoulders and very tight sleeves, and was finished off at the neck by an old-fashioned and very broad lace collar. Her hair was cut short and rumpled all over her head, and she wore neither flowers nor jewelry. Asphyxia being tall and and very slender and wearing eyeglasses, reminded one of the picture I have seen somewhere of "an old baby." The child having gray hair and an old face and smoking a cigar, is represented with a bib on and tied into a high-chair. And certainly if a joke be the bringing together of two utterly incongruous elements in such a manner as to make them appear ludicrous, Miss Asphyxia was a huge joke. When young Butterfield came down stairs with his hair nicely oiled and parted, and brushed up on each side in the form of a pigeon-wing, and his store clothes on, he was immediately struck by the appearance of Asphyxia, and the only thing he could think of was the Rollo books which he had found a few years before in the Sunday School library of his native town, Saug Centre. He began to wonder if the young gentleman whom Mrs. De Sorosis had promised to introduce him to would wear pantalets, little white waists and velveteen coats, that being the costume Rollo was wont to appear in on Sundays at home.

Mrs. De Sorosis wore a black velvet walking suit and pearl-colored gloves. (Just here I should very much like to know why it is that women with too much figure or no figure at all invariably choose to display their ample or awkward proportions in that most indiscreet material - black velvet.) I have often thought that some of these idiosyncrasies of dress were owing to the smallness of our mirrors. We can only see the bust in the looking-glass, and the consequence is that not only women, but men, also, are apt to wear a fortune in diamonds and other noticeable ornaments within the space of a few inches on their breast, and leave the nether parts to take care of themselves. It should not be forgotten that in nine postures out of ten assumed by the body at rest or in motion, the extremities are the most noticeable, and should be cared for accordingly. How many more flaring neckties we see than well-kept hands and nails? I refer more particularly to scarf-pins than neatly-fitting boots. You can guage a man's household accommodations by his dress and appearance; so beware lest people discover that you have but a small looking-glass, or that you have more trousers than neckties, and keep a large stock of boots rather than a pin-cushion full of scarf-pins! I fully intended to take you to Mrs. De Sorosis' reception this week, but my space will not allow it. Rake down the fire, light a cigarette, and dream over a French novel in your dress coat instead, and learn how pleasant it is. One should only read French novels in a dress coat, I think, and philosophy in an ulster.


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